Washington County Durham

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Memories of  Coal Mining

Qualifications / Certificates 2/4

Coal Mining Certificates

Many County Durham Miners worked their way through the ranks to become 'Officials of the Mine', e.g. Safety, Training or Ventilation Officers, Deputies or Overmen.  My Uncle Billy (William Gill) was an Overman at Washington 'F' Pit.  Others successfully made the journey from Mining Trainees, or Craft Apprentices, to reach Management Posts - some at a very senior level.  Who remembers former Westoe Undermanager, Mr I.W. Day (Ian Day)?  He became North East Area, 'second-in-command' - The Deputy Director (Mining).

Before they could be considered for promotion, prospective Mining Engineers needed an M.Q.B. Certificate of Competency, and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers needed an M.Q.B. Engineer's Certificate.  Two such certificates are posted below.  They are very simple in style & layout, but these documents were very important Professional Qualifications.  Candidates had to demonstrate:

a) They had undergone appropriate Practical Training in their branch of engineering, over a period of years, within the Coal Industry.

b) They had successfully studied engineering at a suitably high standard e.g. a First Class Certificate of Competency required the candidate to hold an approved Degree, or a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mining Engineering.  The Second Class Certificate required a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Mining Engineering.  Electrical/Mechanical Engineers required a Degree, HND, or HNC, or alternatively, a pass in the Examination set by the Association of Mining Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (AMEME).

c) Colliery Surveyors required a Degree, HND or HNC in Mining Surveying, or have passed an examination in Mining Surveying set by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

d) All candidates had to pass an H.S.E./M.Q.B. Legislation Exam regarding 'The Law Relating To Safety and Health, Mines of Coal'.

e) Class 1 or Class 2 Certificates were also awarded to Mechanics (Fitters) and Electricians - following successful completion of their apprenticeships and college engineering courses.

Other Essential Qualifications

Shot-firers & Deputies were required to pass a Gas Testing and Hearing Examination.  Deputies also needed a First Aid Certificate.


Malcolm Young's Mining Certificates

First Class Certificate of Competency

( 1965 )

Thanks to one of our contributors, Malcolm Young, for permission to post his 1st Class Certificate of Competency.
A Miner at Westoe Colliery, Malcolm successively moved to Shot-firer, Deputy and Overman posts.
He was later appointed Method Study Engineer, based at Whitburn Area Offices.

[ This certificate qualified the holder to apply for the 'top job' of Colliery Manager. ]

First Aid Certificates

First Aid Cert. 1965

First Aid Cert. 1968


Gas Testing & Hearing Certificate

Thanks again, Malcolm.

[ For Pictures & More Information relating to Gas Testing, go to Top Menu. ]


Yours Truly's

Electrical Engineer's Certificate

( 1971 )

The M.Q.B. Mechanical Engineer's Certificate was laid out in the same way.

[ An Engineer's Certificate qualified the holder to apply for any Electrical / Mechanical Engineering posts within N.C.B. / British Coal. ]